WHY THE HARD TIMES ARE SO IMPORTANT
As adults, we are conditioned to want life to be easy and the way we want it to be. We are told that makes us happy. Introspection shows that this isn’t really the case. In fact, that approach leads both to increasing unhappiness and lack of fulfillment.
Ironically, we accept that part of the maturing process from child to adult requires being challenged to continually become more. For most, this often is both difficult and exciting. We often feel very alive with the adventure of daily life and how we will make a difference in the world. Why do we then, as adults, seek being comfortable instead? Our experience shows that this approach doesn’t work. We can’t control others or the world the way we want to, and even when we seem to, it mostly feels empty and exhausting. Tantrums by two-year old children are not fun to be around, but they are nothing like the damage caused by adult tantrums.
In retrospection, the most difficult periods in my life have also been the most important. In challenging times, I had to face issues that I could no longer hide from. When I accepted and committed to use these periods for healing and growth, amazing things always happened, often beyond what I could imagine. Was it painful, lonely, frustrating, embarrassing, frightening, etc. to embrace these periods? Yes, on all accounts. However, I found a deeper and better part of my being that gave me strength I didn’t know I had. These periods led to an increasing ability to accept, respect and express myself in all aspects of my life, without seeking approval, recognition and reward. Ironically, more approval, recognition and reward resulted because I was not motivated by those ego goals. I finally came to understand and embrace the 6th step on ‘The Work’s Judge Your Neighbour Worksheet (Byron Katie). This step first asks what we never want to experience again. Then it challenges to instead be both ‘willing to and look forward to’ experiencing the situation again. Why would I be willing and look forward to very difficult situations? Because they give me the chance to free myself from a part of my identity that is fear and ego based. This part of me causes my suffering. I’m committed to let it go and live from the strength of my deeper self.